By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Old soldier has gone home
Mae Bell Baggs - photo by Photo Provided/Coastal Courier
Despite the blustery Jan. 2 weather, the church was packed to capacity. Old and young gathered to say goodbye.
"She said she wanted to live to be 100," her daughter Mae Frances Bestor said. On Oct. 28, 2007, she turned 100.
This old soldier had fought many battles, winning many victories. She earned many stars, clusters and awards as a soldier without ever lifting a weapon. She had enjoyed a rich and fruitful life, but Mae Bell Canty Baggs' journey ended on Dec. 27.
"She lived to be 100 years old and 59 days," said the Rev Dr. James Evans, pastor of St. James Missionary Baptist Church in Ludowici. "Mother Mae Bell's work spoke for her. She taught me so many things."
"She was a pillar of the community, a portrait of a mother. She was the inspiration of who I have become in the Lord," Bagg's grandson, the Rev. Nathaniel Baggs said. "She exemplified love in how she cared for my mother.
"She would cut wood, make lye soap and grind cane to make syrup. She taught me that if you don't work, you don't eat. Before there was a Maytag washer, she had the old tin wash tub. She will be missed, but her legacy will live on."
Mae Bell's niece, Merlene Canty, also has fond memories of her aunt.
"Aunt Mae Bell left good instructions. She taught me how to love the Lord, how to hear and not hear. She taught me how to carry myself. She was a woman of love, praise, character, dignity, and a kindred spirit," Canty said.
During her eulogy her pastor implied her life spoke for itself.
"I will not attempt to preach her funeral, she did that better than I could ever do. But we come to celebrate the home-going of a legacy, icon and pillar in the community; a wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt, doctor, and a lawyer. She was all of that and more. She loved the Lord and lived to please God.
"She didn't attend Yale, Duke, Baylor or Mercer, but she became a doctor with a strong practice. If you had an ailment, she would go into her laboratory (backroom) and give you some medicine. She made some of the best home remedies around, with handwritten instructions on the bottle.
"Mother Mae Bell didn't go to law school, but she was a lawyer, judge, and jury. She was like E. F. Hutton; when she spoke, everyone listened."
"Not one person in the congregation's life has not been touched by her...  
Evans sang "May the Work I've done Speak for Me:" "May the work I've done speak for me. May the work I've done speak for me. May the life I live speak for me. When I'm resting in my grave, and there is nothing that can be said, may the work I've done speak for me."
"That song summarized Mother Mae Bell's life," he said.
Sign up for our e-newsletters